The world started deploying Body Camera for various Law enforcement organizations and Security agencies in recent years. There were debates on the pros and cons of using body-worn cameras before the acceptance of the equipment. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) started deploying body-worn cameras (BWC) at all 35 Neighborhood Police Centres (NPCs) to enhance frontline crime-fighting capabilities at the start of 2015. This camera is also known as police camera.
HOW DOES A BODY-WORN CAMERA WORK?
Body-worn Cameras are a small device that is usually attached to the upper body of the user. Used to record the day to day work or upon triggered. Most of the cameras have enough battery life for a couple of hours of recording.
BENEFITS OF A BODY-WORN CAMERA
1) Increase police transparency and record why officers acted the way they did.
2) Improve surveillance and deters crime. Police can use it easily to bring down the crime rate
3) Use as evidence in court
4) Protect the safety of staff and users. User can keep an eye on things happening.
5) Improve professional image
6) Holder accountable for their actions and at the same time, protect users who are falsely accused of wrongdoing
7) Reduction of complaints from civilians (which is good for both the community and users)
Procs and Cons
Pro- 1. Police body cameras mainly increase the safety of the public and the police. So, people act differently when they know they are being filmed – police body cameras can encourage good behavior by police officers and members of the public, leading to a decrease in violence, use of force incidents, and attacks on officers on duty.
- Police body worn cameras improve police accountability and protect officers from false accusations of misconduct. Mainly police body cameras mainly provide visual and audio evidence that can independently verify what happened in any given situation.
Con-1. Police body cameras basically decrease the safety of police officers and negatively affect their physical and mental health. Some people respond negatively – even violently – to being filmed by police, especially people who may be drunk, on drugs, or suffering from mental health problems.
- Police body cameras mainly invade the privacy of citizens, expose victims and witnesses of crimes, and damage police-public relationships. Recording police-public encounters can lead to the public exposure of private medical conditions, victims of crimes such as rape or domestic abuse, witnesses who fear reprisal from criminals, and informants – especially in states which have laws allowing public access to the footage.
Recently, number of police forces have released detailed reports on how the experience is by using body worn cameras. The report says-
- 33% reduction in complaint allegations – Metropolitan Police (UK)
- Public support for BWV – Metropolitan Police (UK)
- Police equipped with body-worn cameras receive 93% fewer complaints from the public – Cambridge University.
Although there has been many pros and cons of using body worn cameras, but for police officers this is highly effective. Body worn cameras are among the best tools that can be employed with modern policing framework helping to improve the effectiveness and safety.